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Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Wednesday July 18, 2007
A few days ago, my esteemed Frontstretch colleague and friend, Mr. Mike Neff, made the assertion that it is the driver that makes the sponsor. While that may be true for some lesser known products, I don't believe the separation of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Budweiser should prompt Anheuser-Busch to be searching through the St. Louis area Yellow Pages for a cheap bankruptcy lawyer just yet.
Contrary to popular cultural myth, Budweiser, the "King of Beers", did in fact exist long before the inception, conception, reception, and perception of NASCAR's Most Popular Driver. Truth be told, it predates him by some 98 years, back to 1876, when horsepower was actually rated by the number of road apples left in your wake.
My earliest personal recollection of the product was the masked and caped "Bud Man" sticker on the rear window of my Aunt's boyfriend's GTO in the early 70’s. My personal usage of the product began with the onset of the 80’s, and occasionally continues to this day. I did not begin drinking it because of whoever the spokesperson was at that time, for I haven't a clue of who that might be. No, I began drinking Budweiser because it was, wellâ€¦Budweiser! It tasted good and, in those earlier years, didn't cause me to use three rolls of toilet paper the next day. As time has progressed and middle age has set in, Busch Light has become my beverage of choice for precisely the same reason. My choice has absolutely nothing to due with Busch's long association with NASCAR or the cases of beer they set on the winning car in Victory Circle. Trust me, as I've been in Victory Circle on several occasions; there is NO beer in those cases! I checked. The reason I enjoy Busch Light is simple gastronomic comfort and taste, (but not necessarily in that order!)
As I so frankly stated nearly three full years ago in this very spaceâ€¦
"Nobody, who possesses half a mind and can think for themselves, ever bought a product because they saw it on top of a race car! If you have, you are mindless and weakâ€¦People who can think for themselves drink what they drink because they like itâ€¦They buy the products that provide the best quality and value, not because it was on top of the winning car."
While I did not specifically also say "because of who hawks the product" in that article, I assume a certain level of intelligence among my readers, and am sure most of you get the gist of that sentiment.
Yes, Budweiser has enjoyed a stellar relationship with Dale Jr. for the last several years, and both have benefited from that marriage; but their dissolution is not the end of the "King of Beers" reign in any way, shape, or form. For a lesser product, perhaps…but not Bud. Fact of the matter is, once the dust settles it will be Budweiser getting more of the credit for propelling Junior to the status he enjoys today, more so than the other way around.
Now, don't misinterpret me as suggesting that Lil E is not a marketing boon: Any company that chooses to align themselves with him will reap huge rewards. That is just the natural order of things given his last name, age, and demeanor. Some other products would surely suffer should they divorce an icon such as him, but the history and scope of Budweiser as a product has it rising above and beyond any one individual…just as no one driver is bigger than NASCAR itself.
(Or, so the Frances would lead you to believe…)
Anyways, the bottom line is simple: Budweiser was "King" long before Dale Earnhardt, Jr. arrived, and rest assured, Budweiser will still wear the crown long after Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is gone. Long live the King!
Stay off the wall, (and off the road if you've been worshipping the King!)
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“……..when horse power was actually rated by the number of road apples left in your wake.”
“WAS” (actually rated)?!
When did the rating system change?
Back in the day, for a performance advantage with a two-horse team, I tried feeding one horse alfalfa hay and the other horse oat hay.
And I noticed at least ONE difference.
Way to go! Sponsors have moved around before, including Budweiser. Frankly, I think the whole advertising world is full of it. In my opinion, sponsors spend millions more than they reap, especially in NASCAR. Just because Mark Martin drove the Valvoline car, did his legion of fans move to Valvoline? I doubt it. When Bill Elliot drove the McDonald’s car, did his fans pass Burger King and drive 5 more miles to get to McDonalds because of Elliot? I think many sponsors are realizing that their return is not as good as the ad people are trying to tell them. That’s why it’s getting harder for the teams to find big sponsors. In Earnhard’s case the big losers are his fans who have wasted their hard earned money on expensive souvenir clothing and such. If they feel they have to wear Mountain Dew stuff, then they will waste some more money making Earnhardt richer.
“coronate”??? Good lord! Where did you go to school?
Coronate — means to crown. So, the word actually fits.
the Ironhead nation & RED nation (soon to be green or blue depending on what cola he choose’s to sponsor him)don’t care ….they will be led to the trailers to buy hat’s jackets ,shirts ..just like sheep to the slaughter house’s. I don’t feel sorry for them at all!!!!In Earnhardâ€™s case the big losers are his fans who have wasted their hard earned money on expensive souvenir clothing and such. If they feel they have to wear Mountain Dew stuff, then they will waste some more money making Earnhardt richer.Nobody, who possesses half a mind and can think for themselves, ever bought a product because they saw it on top of a race car! If you have, you are mindless and weak
Very well put.
I’ve tried new products because Nascar marketing made me aware of them but its the product itself that determines whether I buy and keep buying or not.
I will not have wasted my hard earned money at all. It was who he was for almost a decade and I will continue to display/wear my Bud 8 stuff and drive my Jr Monte Carlo. Of course I will begin a new collection of souveniers and don the new apparrel. I personally don’t think of it as wasted money. Christmas & birthdays are always right around the corner.
Happily, I haven’t gotten sucked into the souvenir mania of some people. Neither have I used any product simply because they sponsor any Nascar driver…and never will.
It’s your opinion as to if we wasted our money or not. We certainly aren’t sheeps being led to the slaughterhouse. We enjoy our driver. I have a ton of Dale Jr Bud swag. Do I regret buying it? Heck no. Will I buy new stuff? Yes I will. I’m even one of those who have an 8 tattoo. I’m not lining up to have it covered. It will still be part of his legacy when the time comes. I’ll just add 2000-2007 to the 8 and get a new tattoo with the new number.
I’m not a Jr. fan, but to tell you the truth, the fans aren’t wasting there money at all!! In fact, they have been investing if you really think about it. The #8 Bud souveniers and memorabilia that is kept in good condition will be worth a good bit of money one day…..just like old #3 Wrangler memorabilia. Some collectors pay top dollar for that kind of stuff.
Great article Jeff.
Bud developed an ad campaign which helped Jr get recognition. They’ll develop a new one for whomever they sponsor next year and he’ll get some recognition as a result of the ad campaign.
The fad fans will swamp the souvenir trailers to buy the new gear. The more discerning fan or the long time fans who still wear their “3” stuff will bide their time before they invest in the new stuff.
The current trend of buying up the current “8” gear is being looked at as an investment by some who hope to reap financial rewards down the road. Others are buying it up because it won’t be available after the team switch.
I buy some “8” stuff for one of my long time friends every year for Christmas because he’s a Dale Jr fan. He appreciates it.
I’ll stick to wearing my old Dick Trickle gear. Winningest driver in the USA.
I guess I am one of the few idiots that does make purchases because of who the sponsor is. I buy Bud Light because of Junior, I also have a red Monte Carlo and I use Castrol motor oil because John Force says to. I guess I am one of them folks that the sponsor are hoping for.
I also drink Busch Light because it tastes good. Its better than that beer flavored carbonation which adorns the #2 car.
It makes ya wonder why A-B couldn’t sponsor Jr with Busch Light? He’d still have the backing of A-B and his fans wouldn’t have too much of a drastic change from Bud to Busch. They’re pretty similar. The #5 car in blue would be cool (if, of course, he takes that number).
Well, if I were so inclined, I certainly wouldn’t worry being thought of as a “sheep” by opinionated goofs. As far as I remember, it’s a free country and just because someone doesn’t want to buy something, it doesn’t make them any smarter or more noble than the person who purchases something because they enjoy wearing it. Some people take themselves WAY too seriously! LOL
Karne…well I’m sure anything you buy certainly looks good when you’re wearing it…….as long as you’re looking in a mirror…..LOL
( Iâ€™m even one of those who have an 8 tattoo) 8fan…did you finance that thang?? how many payments you got left??
No, I did not have to finance it. Since you seem to have pre-judged me based on my driver and body art, I will inform you that you are incredibly wrong. I am a college educated person who does very well financially. Maybe you should take your prejudices and look in the mirror yourself.
Anyone that gets a TATOO of “Their DRIVER” ??? pre-judged?? , no reason for that…my mistake.lol
You assume because I have a tatoo of my driver that I am what you consider “white trash”. You would be wrong. I am a college educated professional who has several small tatoos that are not visible while wearing business suits because I enjoy the artistry involved and have much respect for those who tattoo and have tatoos of their passions.
Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:
Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?
Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.